Northern Virginia NTRAK is located in the National Capital Region and is made up of over 90 members throughout the Northern Virginia and Southern Maryland area.
Our principal activities include monthly setups and public shows.
We often conduct a series of free workshops in conjunction with our public shows. Please consult our Events schedule for details.
Who's in charge? Well, our Board of Directors manages the day-to-day operation of NVNTRAK though, with such a talented and diverse gang of model railroaders, it's been referred to more than once as "herding cats" - we pull together, though do a fine job of bringing model railroading to the public!
We were the proud sponsors of the 1996 N Scale East Convention in Alexandria, VA, the 2004 N Scale East Convention in Chantilly, VA, and the 2014 Capitol Limited N Scale East Convention in Chantilly, VA.
Although some of our members date back to the "golden oldie days" of NTRAK, Northern Virginia NTRAK is a relative newcomer to the NTRAK world.
NVNTRAK started in the spring of 1991 with a meeting of four gentlemen (Dennis Austin, Edd Braithwood, Tom Reid, and Chris Riddick) on Chris' deck in Herndon, VA. They met on that deck twice before moving over to Edd's basement. The first public set-up for NVNTRAK was in conjunction with the Rockville Lion's Club. We continue to support this show during November, National Model Railroad Month, each year.
Several members participated at the National Train Show in Valley Forge, PA, in 1993. At the time, this was the "Largest Layout in the World."
The club grew to about 15 members and 30 modules by the fall of 1994, when it incorporated as a not-for-profit Virginia corporation.
In the fateful year of 1994, a small but loud contingent of NVNTRAKers went south to Rail Fun, the N-Scale East Convention in Orlando, FL. Our club banner and about 24 feet of modules attracted the attention of everyone at the convention, including the local television station. In spite of - or perhaps because of - this, the club was asked to host the 1996 N-Scale East Convention. It took some soul-searching. The club then had only about 20 members, and hosting a convention is a BIG job. But, the decision was made to do it.
RunniN' TraiNs '96 is thought by some to be "The Best Train Convention Ever." We inherited the title of "Largest Layout in the World" with a layout that included 315 modules and covered 41 scale miles! This show pioneered The Red Line Route™, which enabled trains to cover the entire layout. On the weekend, our 461 convention delegates shared their enthusiasm with over 12,000 members of the public who attended the Train Show.
Since then, we have grown to over 80 members with approximately 15 scale miles of modules, many of which are prize winners. We are proud to be leaders in the world of N-Scale model railroading as a club and as individuals. We have pioneered the use of Aristo-Craft radio control throttles and the oNeTRAK concept, have embraced the use of Digital Command Control, and have invented the junction module design, key to The Red Line Route™. These concepts are now the de facto standard at most regional and national N-Scale setups. Our two trailers allow us to take our modules to many of these meets. We often anchor a loop and make a major and recognizable impact as a club.
Our members' modules are frequent prize winners; many of them have become recognized and welcome additions to these setups. Several of our members serve as members and as officers on regional and national model railroad organizations. Pictures and articles by our members and about our modules regularly appear in national magazines.
Attracting attention is not a new phenomenon. Matt Schaefer's Hawk's Nest corner module set predates the club and is featured in the original NTRAK "How to" Manual. For years, it anchored the New River Subdivision, a prize-winning set of common-theme modules built by members of NVNTRAK and other eastern NTRAK clubs and now resides in Edd Braithwood's large home layout.